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Hologram for the King (Eggers) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
In Mr. Eggers's telling, the 54-year-old Alan is not just another hapless loser undergoing a midlife crisis. Rather, his sad-funny-dreamlike story unfolds to become an allegory about the frustrations of middle-class America, about the woes unemployed workers and sidelined entrepreneurs have experienced in a newly globalized world.... Thanks to Mr. Eggers's uncommon ability to access his characters' emotions and channel their every mood, we are instantly immersed in Alan's story.... A comic but deeply affecting tale about one man's travails that also provides a bright, digital snapshot of our times.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times


A clear, supremely readable parable of America in the global economy that is haunting, beautifully shaped and sad.... Eggers's inhabiting of the terms and tics of a distinctly American consciousness is as remarkable as, in earlier books, his channeling of Sudanese and Syrian sensibilitie.... A Hologram for the King is, among other things, an anguished investigation into how and where American self-confidence got lost and—in the central word another lonely expat uses for Alan—"defeated."
Pico Iyer - New York Times Book Review


A diverting, well-written novel about a middle-aged American dreamer, joined to a critique of how the American dream has been subverted by outsourcing our know-how and manufacturing to third-world nations.
Michael Dirda - Washington Post


Eggers understands the pressures of American downward-mobility, and in the protagonist of his novel, Alan Clay, has created an Everyman, a post-modern Willy Loman.... The novel operates on a grand and global scale, but it also is intimate.
Elizabeth Taylor - Chicago Tribune


An extraordinary work of timely and provocative themes.... This novel reminds us that above all, Eggers is a writer of books, and a writer of the highest order.... An outstanding achievement in Eggers's already impressive career, and an essential read.
Carmela Ciuraru - San Francisco Chronicle


Dave Eggers is a prince among men when it comes to writing deeply felt, socially conscious books that meld reportage with fiction. While A Hologram for the King is fiction...it’s a strike against the current state of global economic injustice."
Elissa Schappell - Vanity Fair


Eggers's first unabashedly fictional, original novel in some time nonetheless grounds itself as firmly in the real world as Zeitoun or What is the What. Businessman Alan Clay has reached middle age with experience in manufacturing and door-to-door salesmanship considered almost wholly anachronistic and in post-industrial America, "as intriguing...as an airplane built from mud." Deeply in debt and unable to continue paying for his daughter Kit to go to college, Alan finds himself in Saudi Arabia awaiting the arrival of "the Kingdom's" elusive monarch for a chance to pitch his employer, Reliant, as the information technology supplier for a massive new King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) development. In limbo, Alan writes letters to Kit that he'll never mail, frets about his health (he's discovered a growth on his neck), and wrestles with insecurity over his past personal and business failings. This conflation of Waiting for Godot and Save the Tiger is unsurprising, if sympathetic, in its portrait of a global economy with all the solidity of a sandcastle. Eggers strikes fresh and genuine notes, however, in Alan's burgeoning friendship with the young Saudi man, Yousef, assigned to be his driver. Both Eggers's fans and those previously resistant to his work will find a spare but moving elegy for the American century.
Publishers Weekly


A middle-aged man scrapes for his identity in a Saudi Arabian city of the future. This book by McSweeney's founder Eggers (Zeitoun, 2009, etc.) inverts the premise of his fiction debut, 2002's You Shall Know Our Velocity.... Eggers has matured greatly as a novelist since Velocity: Where that novel was gassy and knotted, this one has crisp sentences and a solid structure.... If anything, the novel's flaws seem to be products of too much tightening: An incident involving a death back home feels clipped and some passages are reduced to fable-like simplicity. Even so, Eggers' fiction has evolved in the past decade. This book is firm proof that that social concerns can make for resonant storytelling.
Kirkus Reviews




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